Indigenous Knowledges and Understandings


The Mudang-Dali (meaning ‘to live’ in Dharug language) Indigenous Connected Curriculum Framework  provides a centralised framework towards achieving a quality approach to the embedding of Indigenous values, philosophies and knowledges into current and future curriculum. In line with the Mudang-Dali Framework, the Faculty of Arts provides the opportunity to educate all its students in the development of positive attitudes, knowledges, understandings and skills that impact diversity, inclusiveness and cultural contexts within global environments. As a first step in supporting this project, all our students will find a Welcome to Country in their iLearn units of study. This section of Academic Development is designed to help you as educators with an important role in connecting our curriculum and our students to indigenous knowledges and understandings.

Walanga Muru

Walanga Muru  (meaning ‘follow your path’ in Dharug language) is responsible for a whole of university approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success.

Wallumai (meaning the 'Snapper fish' in Dharug language) is the totem gifted to Walanga Muru by the Dharug Community. This is significant because historical accounts refer to Wallumedegal, place and people of the Wallumai. The spelling is an interpretation of Dharug oral language. Levy (1942) has for the title of his history of Ryde as Wallumetta as the noun for the Country on which MQU sits. Ryde Council today refers to both Wallumedegal and Wallumattagal, and Dharug community linguists refer to Wallumattagal. Such a form follows Burramatta (today known as Parramatta).

Indigenous Cultural Protocols

The University has published an extensive guide to Indigenous Cultural Protocols [.pdf, 8.2MB]

A short version prepared by the Department of Indigenous Studies  is here which we encourage for inclusion in unit guides:

There are two distinct Indigenous peoples: Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people. When writing about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders do not use the acronym 'ATSI', write in full. Capital letters should always be used when referring to Aboriginal peoples and or Torres Strait Islander peoples. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are acceptable terms to use, it should be recognised that these are collective terms and often used improperly to impose a single identity on the many different communities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people generally prefer to be known by the language/cultural groups or communities, to which they belong, that is, own names rather than terms such 'the Aboriginals' or 'the Islanders'. For example, Aboriginal people in the area surrounding Macquarie University may refer to themselves as Dharug. It is important that you always check the correct name or terms to use for people in the area/region. The use of incorrect, inappropriate or dated terminology is to be avoided as it can give offence. Many historical terms or those in common usage some years ago are now not acceptable, including terms such as 'aborigine' 'native', 'savage' and 'primitive'. Similarly, do not use the terms 'half-caste', 'part-Aborigine/Aboriginal' or any reference to skin colour or physical features, as they do not signify that a person is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and may cause offence. When quoting from academic or other sources that uses inappropriate, dated terminology or racists language, use (sic) directly after the inappropriate term of phrase, thus calling attention to the fact that it has been sourced from the original and that you understand it to be outdated, inappropriate or problematic in the contemporary context.

Manawari Cultural Safety Training

We encourage all faculty staff to undertake the Manawari Cultural Safety Training  provided by Walunga Muru. The purpose of this training is to motivate and build a positive knowledge position for Macquarie University staff. The development and implementation of a high quality culturally appropriate training framework will lead to meaningful understanding and respect for Aboriginal cultural values, histories, beliefs, practices, knowledges and philosophies across the University. This process will have a positive impact on University staff confidence in establishing appropriate, sustainable relationships leading to a culturally inclusive environment at Macquarie University.